Saturday, November 17

Professor wins struggle for gender pay equality


Wednesday, 5/14/97 Professor wins struggle for gender pay
equality LAWSUIT: Settlement puts permanent injunction on
discrimination at UC’s

By Frances Lee Daily Bruin Staff SANTA BARBARA – Addressing a
crowd of supporters at a press conference on Tuesday, UC Santa
Barbara Chicana/o studies Professor Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez
claimed a milestone victory in the fight against gender pay gaps.
Last September, Broyles-Gonzalez filed a historical lawsuit against
UCSB and the UC Regents, which "challenged the pattern and practice
of unequal pay for women within the University of California," she
said Both parties decided to settle out of court on April 14. In an
unprecedented move, the university will submit to a permanent court
injunction mandating that the university cease its gender and race
discrimination, as well as retaliation against Broyles-Gonzalez, a
sort of "lifetime guarantee" of her job, she said. Although it has
not yet been finalized, the settlement will also award
Broyles-Gonzalez an additional $100,000 in damages, costs and
attorney fees. In another historical first, a gag order, which is
usually a condition of settlements made with the UC, was not
imposed on Broyles-Gonzalez. The lack of a gag order made it
possible for her to speak publicly about her plight. Surrounded by
students and supporters carrying signs proclaiming "equal pay for
equal work," "stop gender discrimination," and "we demand equal
gender equality now," Broyles-Gonzalez read from a prepared
statement in front of Cheadle Hall, the UCSB administrative seat.
"The University of California publicly assures us that it does not
discriminate nor retaliate," she said. "The agreement for the
permanent injunction against the university declares otherwise,"
she continued. According to Broyles-Gonzalez, the press conference
was held in order to make the university’s submission to the
injunction public – a fact that the university neglected to mention
in a press release on the settlement last Tuesday. Although the
injunction only names and protects her, Broyles-Gonzalez said, "the
power extends to other women. The university is on notice. "Through
the lawsuit and the permanent injunction, the university has been
given a powerful message" – that gender pay inequalities will not
be tolerated, she added. Broyles-Gonzalez’s fight against the
university officially started last September, when she filed a
lawsuit claiming discrimination and retaliation against her by the
university due to her political beliefs. But according to attorney
Moises Vazquez, the struggle began in 1991, when she pressured the
university to create the first Chicana/o studies doctorate program
in the nation. "It’s been a long struggle (of) six years," Vazquez
said. "She deserves all the accolades … for taking on this
battle." Students rallying around Broyles-Gonzalez seemed to agree.
"We’re here to support Yolanda in her fight for gender equality.
For far too long, women haven’t been compensated properly for their
scholastic achievements," said Andrea Veiga-Ermert, a fourth-year
history student. According to Vazquez, Broyles-Gonzalez would have
won her case if it had gone to court. She decided to settle out of
court because "going to trial would have (taken) three years, and
prevented her from doing what she loves to do, (teaching)," Vazquez
said. Broyles-Gonzalez refused to accept the university’s gag order
because speaking out about her struggle would empower other women,
she said. "None of us struggle in a vacuum. When you can’t talk
about the struggle and victory publicly, it closes the space,"
Broyles-Gonzalez said. "Others need to hear and see about the steps
taken" to fight for their rights, she added. In a statement
released to the press, Chancellor Henry T. Yang said, "I’m glad
that we have reached a resolution to this dispute." According to a
1995 study published in the journal "Monthly Forum on Women in
Higher Education," UCSB was ranked as the ninth worst offender in
the nation in terms of gender discrimination. Partly as a reaction
to the study, UCSB created a gender pay equity task force,
according to Patricia Sheppard, director of Academic Personnel at
UCSB. Headed by Julius Zelmanowitz, the vice chancellor of Academic
Personnel, the task force is currently in the process of gathering
data, breaking things down into categories such as length of
employment and rank. Considering that UCSB is a young campus, the
study is not a completely accurate reflection of gender pay
inequities, she said. "In 1979, the majority of the faculty (at
UCSB) were white males," Sheppard said. Consequently, they are
higher paid because they have been at the university the longest.
"Until we start breaking down categories, it’s going to tell you
different things. If we lump everything together, the number (comes
out unevenly)," she said. The Daily Nexus Yolanda Broyles-Gonzalez
Previous Daily Bruin stories: Professor wins discrimination suit
against UC Federal verdict mandates that UC Santa Barbara hire or
reimburse

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